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Hethersett VC Junior School celebrates 200th anniversary

PUBLISHED: 19:01 20 November 2017 | UPDATED: 19:01 20 November 2017

The Bishop of Thetford, Reverend Alan Winton, and headteacher Matthew Parslow-Williams unveil commemorative plaque. Picture: Hethersett VC Junior School

The Bishop of Thetford, Reverend Alan Winton, and headteacher Matthew Parslow-Williams unveil commemorative plaque. Picture: Hethersett VC Junior School

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The Bishop of Thetford has unveiled a commemorative plaque marking 200 years of Hethersett VC Junior School.

The three most recent headteachers at Hethersett VC Junior School: Andy Whittle, Matthew Parslow-Williams and Tim Strugnell. Picture: Hethersett VC Junior SchoolThe three most recent headteachers at Hethersett VC Junior School: Andy Whittle, Matthew Parslow-Williams and Tim Strugnell. Picture: Hethersett VC Junior School

In 1815, William Hughes first bequeathed the sum of £300 towards the education of six specially selected children in Hethersett, and in 1817 the first school room was erected with help from voluntary contributions.

By 1833, 125 children attended the school and in 1861 a bigger school was built on the site, with the original building retained as an infants department. In 1972 the school opened its pool and in 2007 it dropped the name Hethersett VC Middle School in favour of its current name.

Matthew Parslow-Williams, headteacher, said the children have enjoyed learning about their school’s history.

He said: “They’ve learnt a lot about how food, uniforms and music have changed over time.”

As part of the anniversary celebrations, Mr Parslow-Williams also gave a presentation on the past two centuries of the school to an audience of pupils, teachers, governors and former parents and pupils.

He exhibited an array of archived documents during the assembly, however, he did not anticipate an audience member’s father would be named on a punishment list from 1919.

Mr Parslow-Williams said: “I had apologised jokingly on the presentation to anyone who might know somebody listed in the punishment book, and then somebody’s father was actually on there, which was a fantastic moment.”

He believes that while a lot may have changed over the past 200 years, the core ethos of the school remains the same.

Mr Parslow-Williams said: “I imagine the rules were a lot stricter back then and I think pupils would have been expected to do a lot more to get into school, often walking long distances. Looking through the archives, it’s clear children may have had a lot of very different experiences in the past. But what hasn’t changed over the 200 years is that the children of Hethersett have always been at the centre of it all. The school was built for the children and it is pleasing that it has remained that way.

“The building may have changed and the children may have changed but the message is still the same.”

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